The Citizen Handbook
The Constitution of Kenya, 2010: The People’s Power
The Constitution of Kenya, 2010: My Constitution, My Future
Environment & Natural Resources
The Environment is the space in which we
live and operate – whether it is the office, street, village, sea, or forest.
Whatever one's daily surroundings may be, every citizen has the right to an
environment that is healthy, clean, safe from pollution and protected from
The Constitution delegates to the State the responsibility of managing several aspects of the country’s environment and natural resources. This includes a requirement for the State to maintain a national tree cover of at least ten per cent. Our country's current tree cover is approximately 2.3 per cent, which means that it will take hard work on the part of the government and all of us Kenyans to achieve and maintain this goal. Finally, the government is required to utilize the environment and natural resources for the benefit of the people of Kenya and not just a particular group of people or geographic area.
Protecting our Natural Resources
Like many other countries, Kenya is working
to benefit from its natural resources such as oil, minerals, forests,
geothermal energy, mangroves, etc. The Constitution requires Parliament to be
fully involved in the negotiation of agreements pertaining to the use of our
country’s natural resources and/or the environment. Specifically, Parliament
must approve any transaction involving the granting of rights to the management
of any natural resource in the country to any individual or entity. In other
words, Parliament must approve any use of our natural resources.
Application & Implication
Every citizen has a responsibility to
ensure that our country’s natural resources are managed in such a way that it
benefits all Kenyans. The constitution also grants citizens the right and
ability to enforce a healthy and sustainable environment. Specifically,
citizens can apply to the court to seek action when others, including the
government, infringe upon, threaten, and violate these rights. This type of citizen
action can help to protect our environment.